Wednesday, December 24, 2003
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The Miss Kitty Letters*
When Milady Forgets
Like any cat, I spend most of my day sleeping, so I'll be wide awake for nocturnal fun and games at the witching hour. And like most cats, when I sleep, I dream. Mostly, I dream of the adventures I'll devise when Miss Jerrianne forgets to close the door or put the lid down or lock me in my kennel while she's away. She's been diligent so far, but sooner or later, humans being fallible creatures (unlike cats!), she will surely forget.
If the doors were left open, I'd explore every nook and cranny, indoors and out. I'd raid the refrigerator and sample all the good things inside. I'd drink milk and eat fish and smear butter on everything. I'd spill stuff and walk through the puddles and leave tracks all over the place. I'd jump up on top of the refrigerator, push everything onto the floor and curl up for a nice, long nap on top, because it's so comfortably warm.
I'd play in the trash cans, strewing litter and tissue all over the house. I'd shred my soft blankets with sharp teeth and claws, leaving little cottony tufts on the carpet. I'd zoom up the drapes and hang out on the curtain rods. I'd nibble asparagus fern fronds and swing from the chandelier. I'd race through the house, setting new speed records for transiting the pass through window, knocking over objects that got in my way.
I'd shove all my twist ties under the stove. I'd hide strainers from bathtub drains under the covers in Miss Jerrianne's bed and stuff my fur rat in her shoe. I'd wedge catnip mice under the vacuum cleaner and see how long it took her to find them. I'd ignore my scratching post and find handy subsitutes. I'd pull books off the shelf by the little satin ribbons hanging down. Then I'd push lots more books down on top of them.
I'd leap on the washer and dryer, spilling soap flakes and fabric softener. I'd nap on the water heater and climb pipes to hang dryer sheet festoons. In the darkroom, I'd knock chemical bottles and boxes into the sink and onto the floor. I'd jump onto the enlarger and splash water around.
I'd sleep on the light table and leave cat hair on all the slides in the light room. I'd pounce on the fax machine's keyboard, sending faxes at random. I'd make long distance calls with the speaker phone on. I'd prance on computer keyboards, erase a few files, lock up programs and send e-mail spam to Miss Jerrianne's friends and associates all over the world.
I'd climb seamless backgrounds in the studio, leaving claw marks clear to the ceiling. I'd tip over light stands, push small, precious objects off tables, scatter pencils and pens, walk on ink pads and spill paper clips. I'd lick all the stamps, pasting them on the wrong envelopes in the wrong places. I'd chew on the earpieces of her eyeglasses and let them fall on the floor. I'd hide her wireless mouse and tug on her laptop cables.
I'd escape out the front door, with no harness or tags. I'd climb birch trees and chase chickadees through the branches. I'd leap onto snow covered spruce boughs to catch magpies. I'd ride piggyback on the Rottweiler next door. If he barked, I'd hiss and scatch his nose with my claws 'til he hollered "Uncle!" I'd tiptoe along fence tops, dig up flowerbeds, play in traffic and leave pawprints on cars. I'd prowl the whole neighborhood.
I dream of adventures milady can't begin to imagine. I dream of colossal messes I'd make and how I'd chase the broom and the mop as Miss Jerrianne cleaned up after me. I dream of chasing toy mice she tosses up and down stairs all night long. I dream of running free, acting wild and jumping into an inviting lap for snuggles and treats. I dream of being a frolicsome imp to the end of my days. I'd never grow up!
This and That
For those who have never eaten or cooked lutefisk, you might like to make the delicacy during the holidays. It's so simple.!
Presidential Name Trivia
Let's see how well you know your presidents!
The Best of
I waited nervously behind the library steps until I saw that my bus, number seven, was nearly full. I bolted from my hiding place like a sprinter from his mark and fell into line just as the doors were closing. Sanctuary. The school ground had become, in those days of my twelfth year, a very hostile and unforgiving place, with only two such sanctuaries: the school building and the school bus. Anywhere in between these two free zones, I became fair game. You see, for the first time in my young life, I had made an enemy.
For my first endeavor at such undertakings, I did quite well in choosing the largest boy in the sixth grade. Duane was at least 150 pounds, although I can't be sure because on recent visits to my old classrooms everything seemed much smaller than I remember it being. Maybe Duane was only 75 pounds, but next to my frail frame, he was a hulking Sasquatch.
Duane had somehow become convinced that I was responsible for the crude caricature of him that appeared one day on the bulletin board. I guess he recognized my stylistic nuances because he had vowed publicly to end my life. Now I was living my life in fear, running serpentine between the school and the bus like John Wayne in The Sands of Iwo Jima.
"Bam! Flat like a pancake, Anderson!" His words resounded in my head as I made myself as small as possible in the bus seat. I thought about my the Swedish pancakes my Mother made. They were really flat.
On the long ride home, it began to snow. Snowflakes collected like icy sequins on the sill of the school bus window as I drifted off into a snowfall induced trance. By the time the bus arrived at our house, the wind had picked up and was whipping the falling snowflakes into tiny white cyclones all over our driveway.
"Darwin, Public and Parochial. Dassel-Cokato..." A unison cheer drowned out the announcer's voice. We had heard the magic words, the words that are the envy of our southern cousins everywhere, announcing a Snow Day.
The wonderful white manna was starting to accumulate in two or three foot drifts all over our property. The wind howled like a symphony of angry woodwinds and it was delicious music to my ears, indeed.
Naturally, I suited up and hit the perimeter to explore. In my mind, I was Alan Shepard on the moon, leaping weightlessly across the terrain. Oblivious to my fantasies, the wet petals kept falling out of the icy black sky.
The blizzard raged on for four more days and by the end of its reign, set new precedents for what a winter storm should be. The drifts covered a corn picker completely, with only its mouth sticking out of the snow, as if it were mouthing a despondent "O." There were great terraces of snow in our back yard, which inevitably became the groundwork for an elaborate network of tunnels. It was a whimsical fantasy wonderland where I never once thought about Duane Kohl.
Until the following Monday, when school resumed.
I was dead. I had allowed myself to be trapped between free zones and now I was going to die. I slumped limply up against the library steps. It was Duane, all one hundred and fifty homicidal pounds of him.
"Hey Anderson, my Dad might buy a car from your Dad."
"R... really?" I stammered.
"Yeah, and it might be mine someday."
"Wow, that's ... that's great," I said, laughing rigidly.
With that, Duane slugged me in the shoulder and lumbered off towards bus number four. I stood there for a minute, rubbing my arm. I knew that he had to do something to me for drawing that unkind picture of him, but somehow I had expected more than that.
I see now, looking back, that used automobiles make strange bedfellows. If Mr. Kohl had decided to buy a new car, I might have been carrion hanging from the jungle gym. Or flat like Swedish pancakes, like my mother makes.
The Matriarch Speaks W
% A Joyous Holiday Season e
1. We have sold our mobile home here in Springfield and have rented an apartment in Alexandria, Minnesota.
Answers to the Presidential Trivia
1. Ulysses Simpson Grant
From Barb Dewey
Did you hear about the Texas teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. Finally, when the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet." She looked and sure enough, they were.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY: If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
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